This past week I was working on a few things at a coffee shop and received a call from a candidate about a position I was trying to fill.  Our conversation went on for about 20 minutes, and at it’s conclusion I received a tap on the shoulder by a gentleman who was sitting next to me.  He didn’t want to disturb me but wanted to thank me for keeping my voice down throughout my conversation.  He went on to say that normally he hates sitting near people on cell phones because they have no respect for those sitting in close proximity.

It got me to thinking, do people ever think about the people around them when they engage in  conversation on their cell phones?  Do we think about the impact on the waitperson who is there to take our order, or the person at the register at Target or US Bank or Walgreens Pharmacy?

Cell phones are here to stay but unfortunately good manners appear to be suffering as a result.  We all can agree that there are many things that cell phones do to make our lives easier and more efficient.  However, some of the most courteous professionals I know seem to lose all awareness of the people around them when involved deeply in a call, e-mail, or texting session on their cell phone.  It goes so much further than just talking on the phone.  It should be implicit that you turn off your ringer in most places.  It never ceases to amaze me me that I can be in a theater at the most dramatic part of a movie and hear a ridiculous ring tone.  Most shocking places of note,  a chirping phone at high holiday services for Yom Kippur and a relatives  funeral!!!

So the next time you are in a situation like the ones mentioned above, be respectful of the people around you.  It will not make you lose a deal or be late for and appointment and you just might make someone’s day by doing so.